Co-operative unveils latest Ethical Plan commitments
The Co-operative Group has unveiled an update to its Ethical Plan to ensure that it continues to be the UKs most socially responsible business.
The group said the latest Plan, first launched 12 months ago, shows that many of the original targets, particularly in relation to environmental issues, have been achieved ahead of schedule. In the past 12 months The Co-operative has seen:
- Operational greenhouse gas emissions reduced by 35%, and water consumption down by 20%
- Lending of £700 million progressed to green energy projects
- Pressure groups ranking The Co-operative as leader in areas such as pesticides, palm oil, sustainable fish and forest stewardship
- A million new customer members joining
- Support for a new community initiative in the UK every hour of every day
- 700 co-operative enterprises helped to grow and prosper
- 70% of developing world products that can be Fairtrade to be Fairtrade by end March.
This year’s Plan contains 53 commitments which include:
- A new campaign to be launched with Oxfam to champion small-holder farmers and co-operatives, and the role they can play in feeding the world sustainably
- 30,000 loans to entrepreneurs in the developing world by the year end
- Operational greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced by 50% by 2020, and water consumption to be reduced by 30% by 2014
- £17 million to be invested in support of co-operative development
- The number of schools active in the group's Green schools Revolution to be doubled to 6,000
- To improve the safety of Britain’s roads, young drivers to be rewarded with premium discounts worth £20 million.
Group chief executive Peter Marks said: "Despite the economic downturn we have remained true to our pledge to show the way on corporate responsibility.
"Our work in the communities in and around our stores is going from strength to strength. Amazingly, the average person in the UK is now only a mile away from a community project that has received our support.
"Abroad, we have continued to lead the way on tackling global poverty. Our new partnership with Oxfam is particularly timely given it’s the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives. Smallholder farmers and co-operatives already help feed a third of the world, with a little more help they can help us rise to the challenge of how to feed sustainably the extra two billion that will be on the planet by 2050.
"The one million new members we now have bears testimony to the continued support we have had from our customers. It also helps that the savings that result from our environmental efficiency initiatives, nearly £40 million a year, are being ploughed back into the business to reduce costs."
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